Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jazz this week: Terell Stafford, Michael Wolff, a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, and more

This week brings another diverse selection of jazz and creative music concerts to St. Louis stages, starting with trumpeter Terell Stafford, who performs at Jazz at the Bistro on Friday and Saturday.

Stafford has worked as a sideman with McCoy Tyner, Christian McBride, John Clayton, Steve Turre, Dave Valentin, and Russell Malone as well as being a member of Matt Wilson's critically acclaimed band Arts and Crafts. He also has recorded as a leader for the locally based MAXJAZZ label, and is spending this week doing an educational residency for Jazz St. Louis, playing school concerts and working with student musicians. To see a couple of videos featuring Stafford in action, check out this previous post.

The other touring act in town this week is pianist Michael Wolff, who's playing at the Sheldon Concert Hall on Saturday. Wolff may be best remembered as the leader of the house band on Arsenio Hall's talk show, but he also had plenty of serious jazz credits in his pre-Posse days, including work with Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, Airto Moriera and Flora Purim’s Fingers band, and Cal Tjader. As a bandleader, Wolff has concentrated on small ensembles, as on his most recent CD Jazz, Jazz, Jazz, a collection of standards performed by a trio that also includes electric bassist John B. Williams and drummer Victor Jones. For his St. Louis concert, Wolff's group also will feature tabla player Badal Roy, who worked with Miles Davis back in the day.

This week's free Jazz at Holmes concert on Thursday night at Washington University features a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass from singer Jan Shapiro, a former St. Louisan who now teaches at Berklee College of Music in Boston, along with guitarist William Lenihan and pianist Kara Baldus.

Another free show happens at Washington University on Friday, when the group Mmmelt, described as a mix of "ambient, punk, world beat, jazz, electronics, avant-garde and spoken word," kicks off the concert series at the new Kemper Art Museum. For more experimental improv, post-rock and other genre-defying sounds, you also can check out Tony Renner's trio learn, artist! and Eric Hall's band Peanuts on Friday at the Schlafly Brewery and Tap Room downtown.

On Sunday, the BAG Trio commemorates Black History Month with a free concert called "From Ragtime to No Time" at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site. And looking beyond the weekend, on Monday night the Webster University Big Band and the Genesis Jazz Project will team up at Webster's Winifred Moore Auditorium for a program called "The St. Louis Blues & All That Jazz."

As always, these highlights are just some of what's happening around town; for more local jazz-related events this weekend and beyond, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar

(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)

(Edited 2/21/08 to correct the day of the Michael Wolff show.)

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